The sensitivity of the numerical simulation of the southwest monsoon boundary layer to the choice of PBL turbulence parameterization in MM5

David R. Bright, Steven L. Mullen

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96 Scopus citations


Summertime convection over Arizona typically begins in the early afternoon and continues into the night. This suggests that the evolution of the daytime planetary boundary layer is important to the development of Arizona convection. If numerical models are to provide useful guidance for forecasting convection during the monsoon, then the planetary boundary layer must be simulated as accurately as possible through utilization of the appropriate physical parameterizations. This study examines the most appropriate Pennsylvania State University-National Center for Atmospheric Research fifth-generation Mesoscale Model (MM5) planetary boundary layer parameterization(s) for deterministic and ensemble modeling of the monsoon. The four MM5 planetary boundary layer parameterizations tested are the Blackadar, Burk-Thompson, Eta, and medium-range forecast (MRF) schemes. The Blackadar and MRF planetary boundary layer schemes correctly predict the development of the deep, monsoon planetary boundary layer, and consequently do a better job of predicting the convective available potential energy and downdraft convective available potential energy, but not the convective inhibition. Because the convective inhibition is not accurately predicted, it is possible that the MM5's ability to initiate or "trigger" convection might be a limiting factor in the model's ability to produce accurate quantitative precipitation forecasts during the monsoon. Since the MM5 planetary boundary layer predicted by the Burk-Thompson and Eta schemes does not accurately reproduce the basic structure of the monsoon planetary boundary layer, their inclusion in a mixed physics ensemble is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-114
Number of pages16
JournalWeather and Forecasting
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2002


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science

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